Shelton man offers $5K reward for pit bull missing for nearly 2 weeks

Photo of Peter Yankowski

SHELTON — The community is rallying behind a local man hoping to locate his dog who has been missing for nearly two weeks.

Jason Petrini was in Europe on a three-week vacation when he heard from his pet-sitter that his pit bull, Louie, had escaped from his harness and ran away.

Petrini said Louie was spotted twice over the span of 24 hours not far from home.

“Evidently, when dogs go in survival mode, they shut off all recognition — it goes into food, water and shelter,” he said during a phone interview.

Now the former Wilton resident is working with organizers of a campaign on social media to try and bring Louie home, with some offering to raise funds to help through a GoFundMe campaign. He’s also offering a reward of $5,000 to get his dog back.

Shelton Animal Control said they’re aware of the search for Louie.

Petrini is concerned if people try to go up to Louie, the dog will flee and go farther into the woods.

Since Louie went missing on July 21, he’s set up cameras and food stations in the hope of spotting him and determining his location.

“We actually did capture a picture that looked like Louie,” he said, but the quality of the image was not good enough to know for sure if it was him.

He’s hopeful because at one food station where he left rotisserie chicken and cat food, Petrini said he also left bully sticks, Louie’s favorite food. The bully sticks were taken, while the cat food — something Louie never ate in the past — wasn’t touched. He suspects raccoons or some other animal wouldn’t have been as picky.

After realigning the cameras, Petrini said they captured an image of what he thinks is his missing dog. Another person reached out to him claiming to have seen Louie run through his backyard after hearing about Petrini’s story on the news.

He’s hoping to bring in a specialized canine tracking team from Virginia who may be able to find Louie.

“From my understanding dogs start to loop, and they basically create a circle,” he said. “As they get lost and try to find their way home, that circle gets bigger and bigger and bigger and they go deeper into the woods.”

He’s hoping the awareness about Louie going missing will help locate him.

“It truly is a community effort and I think everyone who has a pet, or has had a pet, or just wants to be part of something great, they’re all coming out and showing that support,” Petrini said. “That’s honestly the fuel that’s lighting my candle at this point.”

Petrini is asking anyone who thinks they see Louie to call 203-246-6628 and to take a picture if possible.